Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was a Civil Rights icon and an activist for nuclear disarmament whose desire was to see the world come together to work out their differences, achieve peace and nuclear disarmament through what he called “a great fellowship of love”.
He used his powerful voice for peace during the Cold War nuclear arms era by inspiring us on the urgent need for the elimination of all nuclear weapons. In 1958, United States and Soviet Union (as it was known then) were developing and testing nukes at a frightening speed. King acknowledged that spending on nuclear weapons is stealing from society. He said “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
He joined the National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy movement and also signed an appeal by Protestant clergy on halting nuclear tests and recognized that the stopping of the testing of nuclear weapons is a critical step toward stopping the arms race. King understood the threat of nukes and among his goals for global peace includes ending nuke tests forever.
In October 1958, Martin Luther King joined a statement to the U.S. and Soviet negotiators in Geneva. It stated, “An important beginning has to be made on one vital part of the problem of world peace, the permanent internationally inspected ending of nuclear weapons tests.”
In 1957, King told Ebony Magazine, an African American owned publication that: “I definitely feel that the development and use of nuclear weapons of war should be banned. It cannot be disputed that a full scale nuclear war would be utterly catastrophic. Hundreds and millions of people would be killed outright by the blast and heat, and by the ionizing radiation produced at the instant of the explosion.”
Clearly, Dr. King ‘s ‘unarmed truth’ for the purpose of peace making and community building for all is an urgent call to turn the arms race into a ‘peace race.’